Cards & Characters: Count Them As You Will

So I was chillin’ out, maxing relaxing all cool when an earthquake came along and woke up this fool. It was a small one and nothing to worry about, but I woke up with a mixture of apprehension, disbelief and excitement all swirled into one. Otou-san confirmed that I wasn’t crazy when I got upstairs, so that was nice. That was probably the most exciting thing until dinner. But first, exciting present from okaa-san! It was really cute because she came home from a haircut and shopping only to give me a gift. She asked, “Liz, in America do people give each other presents for Thanksgiving? They do presents right?” and I mean, I do with friends but it’s not common. I told her that, but she just shrugged it off and went “okay, good, well here’s your Thanksgiving present!” – as always, I can’t take this kindness someone help me. Here it is: an absolutely lovely stamp of my name, because they’re very handy things and okaa-san loves name stamps. View the stamp below, with my name (full name – Elizabeth) written out using kanji split up into eri-za-be-su. Breaking down all the kanji meanings, ‘Collared Seats & A Nest By The Shore’ is my best way of conveying it as a whole set.



Alright, here’s the explain-y part. Again, my best explanation is ‘Collared Seats & A Nest By The Shore’. Going in order, 襟 (eli) 座 (za) 辺 (be) 巣 (su):

  1. 襟 (えり): collar
  2.  座 (ざ): seat, position
  3. 辺 (べ): surrounding vicinity/region, the edge (of a place or object), (sea)shore
  4. 巣 (す): nest, hive, den

So what I have is a bit up for interpretation, but that makes it fun. Here’s my take on it. It’s not exactly the same, but all the buses here (long-distance/overnight ones) have little doily-esque cloths on the seat headrest and I always think of them as dressed up, so I’ll equate that to a collar. The next bit is a bit wobbly with the loose/multiple interpretations of 辺, but I’ll take either: a nest nearby or on the shore. Both sound homey to me, whether it’s a sense of home always being close or by the sea, which is my favorite place in nature and overall. Basically I can make little stories/connections out of the characters compiled for my gaijin name and I like what I’ve come up with 😉

Card games ensued after dinner, which was challenging because despite my Japanese going through some ‘level up!’ moments, game rules aren’t something that I do well with in English, never mind Japanese. Too bad, so sad, we went for it and it was fine (enough). The last game stumped me but I think that was just the nature of the game. Here’s what we played, we being the whole family of 3:

  • Hanafuda・花札
    • there’s a very specific deck for this, which is a hindrance
    • each card has a point value, hitting 0, 5, 10 or 20 if it has nothing in particular, a flag, an animal/building, or is simply beautiful (values assigned in the respective order described). i.e., flags are 5, animals 10 and the last row is 20
    • every player gets 7 cards, 7 cards are flipped upright in the middle and the rest of the deck sits for a pull-pile
    • you play one from your hand (it has to match an overturned card) then pull 1 and place it down
    • you take the first pair you put down on, and if the pull matches you can take that one as well
    • whoever totals the most points by the end wins
    • this was made by Nintendo before they were hot-shots, and that’s what that random bottom-middle card says!
  • Babanuki・ババ抜き
    • so this game basically means ‘unwanted obaa-chan’ or ‘go away, grandma’, in which the Joker is dame that no one wants. there’s only 1 Joker
    • the whole deck is dealt out and if you have any number pairs (suit irrelevant) you toss them in the middle
    • once everyone’s cleaned their matches it gets fun
    • you go in one direction picking a random card from another player hoping it matches one in hand; when you get a match throw it down
    • you can’t pair the joker, so this is also a good game in the way of bs – bring that poker game on strong
    • whoever dumps everything first wins, and if there are more than 2 players whoever ends w/the Joker loses (play ’til cards out)
  • Shichinarabe・七並べ
    • this is the line of 7s, and starts with all the sevens lined up center field for everyone
    • the whole deck is dealt and the goal is to extend each suit’s line sequentially
    • you simply go around in a circle putting down what you can 1-at-a-time to finish the lines
    • each player gets 3 passes, but if you use all 3 you’re out and lose
    • first one to play all their cards wins

I’ve got good sakusen (strategy) for the first 3 and actually won most of our rounds, not so much the last thing we played. I don’t know what this is called, and while I would play it again with okaa-san (who won all but 1 match of this) and otou-san, I couldn’t explain it or bring myself to want to play it with other people. What I pulled from it is below, and if it doesn’t make sense then join the parade people.

  • everyone gets 16 cards
  • one card is flipped up in the center as starter card and you can’t play anything off of it
  • you have to take 1/throw 1 every turn
  • you have to break into cards on the table by putting down 3+ from the same suit in sequence, or 3+ of one number (5s, queens, etc). after that you’re free to tack on a 9 to a 6-7-8, or the queen of hearts to the other three queens
  • once cards are played they can’t be touched (no stealing the 6-set’s 6 of hearts to make a sequential play)
  • there are some rules I’m missing but I didn’t understand besides what I already listed

So it was a fun night, and I learned some new card games which I’m actually pretty fond of, but I’m usually alone and learned most of my games just recently from Lizzie. Which means I have a pretty limited experience with them. But not for long! Maybe in the future we’ll have a full on card night with sake and some games from my end. For now, this is lovely and more than enough. On that note I bid ye adieu. Here’s hoping something good is in your cards for the day (ahaha, thank you, thank you).

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Anthony says:

    I am more of a fan of kabu, myself.


    1. lizhatesfizz says:

      I just looked it up and I won’t lie, I don’t understand how it works. But I’ll be sure to ask okaa-san about a round in the future and report on it if we play.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anthony says:

        Think of it like blackjack…but only the last digit matters–a bit like baccarat.


  2. Patricia nagy says:

    Hi Elizabeth so nice seeing you yesterday what a nice gift from okaa-San you will use it for years when you sign a card or a letter having a good time with your father love grandma


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